‘Semiotic Chora’ and the Maternalization of Language: A Study of Toni Morrison’s Beloved
Julia Kristeva designates two modes of signifying process that constitute language. The ‘symbolic’ is an expression of clear and orderly meaning, whereas ‘semiotic’ is an expression of feelings and bodily drives. The subversive ‘openness’ of the semiotic language breaks society’s dominating ‘closed’ symbolic order. Though ‘semiotic’ may be expressed verbally, it is not subject to regular rules of language. In Kristeva’s psychoanalytical theory, ‘symbolic’ language is represented by the Father and ‘semiotic’ by the Mother. The later is originated in the ‘semiotic chora’, that pre-linguistic stage of a child when its psychosomatic impulses are centered on the mother’s body. Thus a child’s initiation to semiotic language is done through its inseparable association with the mother. The paper aims at exploring the motherhood of Sethe who asserts her maternity through ’semiotic’ language. Her unshakable bond with her daughters transform house 124 as a ‘semiotic chora’ where daughters merge with the mother in a pre-Oedipal utopian unity.